The Samuel and Helen S. Bookatz Foundation supports projects such as the Green Road and DC Smart Schools. The Green Road Project is a 2.3-acre natural healing environment for wounded warriors on the campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The Green Road connects two patient residential facilities with a wheelchair/walking path running through a wooded streambed. The Foundation also supports the project’s efforts in using art therapy to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), with one goal being the creation of a nationwide template suitable for community outreach. The Samuel and Helen Bookatz Foundation continues to provide grants for the continual scientific research into PTSD and Brain injuries and the role art plays in therapy.
The Foundation also supports DC Smart Schools, an organization that benefits children in underserved urban communities. Our grants provide programs, public exhibitions, instruction in the visual arts, and providing art supplies for these programs. DC Smart Schools came about in 1998 when Jeffrey Wilkes toured his neighborhood elementary school at the suggestion of a friend who worked with Marian Wright Edelman’s Stand For Children.
His neighbors without children saw the school only every four years when the auditorium
floor was polished to serve as a voting precinct for the presidential election. What he witnessed on that tour were dangerous and unhealthy conditions not conducive to learning. Jeffrey and the newly established DC Smart Schools began a ten-year campaign to modernize the school. When they were finished, the refurbished school was certified as LEED-Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009.
DC Smart Schools has since focused on the relationship between nutritional and environmental education--how healthy bodies and a healthy planet are good for everybody. The organization has built vegetable garden structures such as raised growing beds and trellises to enable teachers to bring their kids outside to grow the food they will cook and eat themselves.